What to do on a beautiful spring Friday when you're off work? Why, pull the top down on the Jeep and head on down to Natchitoches for the afternoon, what else?
We took the long way, down highway 71, past the Lock and Dam, stopped in Coushatta for a quick lunch at Bailey's...
...and then turned off 71 at Campti and headed in to Natchitoches about 2:00.
We parked the Jeep down by the river and walked the rest of the day.
The river is much improved over our visit last summer when it was so low.
This guy across the river was enjoying the mild, sunny day:
The water is up and the major landscaping work that has been in progress around Roque House is now complete.
I love Roque House:
And the landscaping they've done behind it is beautiful. It's quickly becoming a prime spot for weddings.
The beds around Roque House are beautiful:
We wandered on up Front Street and stopped in Kaffie Frederick (the oldest store in the state of Louisiana!):
We wandered around in there for a while, then left, then hit a few more shops along Front Street as we headed toward The Book Merchant, only to find THIS:
We went from THIS:
...to THAT. I was heartbroken. I've always counted on J. Michael to turn me on to new local authors and now it's gone. The Book Merchant was an anchor on Front Street with always an open door and a friendly smile for everyone who came in. I'll miss that store, J. Michael and the shop cats. What a real loss that is.
To ease our woes we went on down to The Pioneer Pub which has, without a doubt, the best food in town.
I mean, I love Lasyones, I do. For plate lunches and meat pies it is wonderful! And I hear their breakfast is great. But I just can't go to Natchitoches without parking myself at the bar at The Pub and staying for a while. Let me digress for a moment and reiterate that I HATE the hulking monstrosity that is going to be the new Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame which is hulking over the historic district with no attempt to fit into the architectural period at all:
Anyway, you meet the most interesting people in The Pub and the atmosphere is just right up my alley.
You can sit at tables and observe the tourists and traffic from the huge front window; there are almost always fresh flowers on each table:
Or you can sit at the bar and watch either of the two huge televisions:
This fellow is new since our last visit:
We started out with fried alligator bites which were the best I've ever had: very tender and the breading and seasoning was just perfect. Crispy on the outside and the meat was hot; they were served with a remoulade sauce.
There were several locals at the bar with us and owner Howard was sitting with us watching The Masters on T.V. Steve and Howard talked about skiing out west. Bartender Morgan kept the atmosphere fun - she seems to be a girl who really loves her work. I don't think she ever quit laughing or smiling the whole three hours we were there:
We ended up both eating steaks for dinner (which were awesome) and I ordered a pizza (all fresh and homemade) to bring home for The Teenager.
We left the top down on the Jeep for the drive home; it was about 68 degrees and a little chilly but it was wonderful. Steve saw a shooting star (while he SHOULD have been watching the road). We came back via I49 (which I hate, but it was getting late) and saw a little coyote thinking about crossing the road.
We also got hit by a rock which dinged my new Jeep's windshield and required a trip to Glass Masters first thing this morning. I guess the Jeep is initiated now. Got its first battle scar. I can quit worrying about that now.
It was a great day and a great start to the weekend. We're laying low today and celebrating Easter tomorrow.
Have a good weekend!
Related - More from the Take a Trip Series:
Take a Trip to Logansport, Louisiana
Take a Trip to the Lock and Dam on Red River
Take a Trip to the 2012 Barkus and Meoux Parade
Take a Christmas Shopping Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take a Trip to Grand Cane's Fifth Annual Pioneer Trade Day
Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Take an Autumn Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Take a Fall Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base
Take a Summertime Trip to Grand Cane
Take a Trip to Desoto Parish
Take a Summer Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation
Take a Trip to Ed Lester Farms and a Random Antique Stop
Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery and the Masters of Cuban Art Exhibit
Take a Trip to Natchitoches to See the Christmas Lights
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation